The 5 Key Announcements From This Week’s “Made by Google” Event
Including a new gaming system, phone and an updated commitment to sustainability
On Tuesday, Google held a “Made By Google” event at Hudson Yards in New York, introducing several new products and a new sustainability initiative.
While nothing groundbreaking was announced, the company did offer several significant updates to its hardware lines and one fascinating (but technologically limiting) new gaming console.
Honorable mentions to the new Chrome laptop Pixelbook Go, the “flat fee” pricing on the Nest Aware security system, and wall-mountable and colorful Nest Mini speakers. But the five most interesting takeaways from Google’s event are below.
Stadia: An on-demand cloud game streaming service. You can play high-end titles on your phone, browser or Chromecast with an Xbox-like controller and a $10 monthly subscription without a console, but you will need a robust Internet connection. ($129, available Nov. 19)
Nest Wifi: A router/mesh network/Google Assistant/speaker mashup that makes wifi, a voice assistant and music accessible throughout your house. Setup takes minutes, and the design here (rounded edges, colorways like Snow, Sand and Mist) means you’ll want to keep your tech out on display. ($149+, available Nov. 4)
Pixel 4: Google introduced two new sizes of its Android phone, each one with a telephoto lens, advanced camera options for dark or difficult conditions, a faster Google Assistant and “Motion Sense,” which allows you to unlock your phone, snooze alarms or skip songs with a hand wave. But as a journalist, the instant transcription available on the phone’s voice recorder is a game changer. ($799+, Oct. 24)
Google Pixel Buds: Google’s AirPods competitor had some tech issues at launch, but the new iteration seems like a step in the right direction. The revamped wireless earbuds now have Adaptive Sound (which adjusts volume based on your environment), a better mic for making calls (detecting speech through your jawbone’s vibrations) and a Bluetooth range of “football field-distance” if you’re outdoors. Plus, instant translation and water/sweat resistance. ($179, available next year)
An enhanced clean energy initiative: Besides using 100% recycled plastics in all Nest products launching in 2019, Google’s made shipping for all of its products 100% carbon neutral. A new commitment has the company investing $150 million into renewable energy projects, with the idea that these endeavors will generate renewable energy that is equivalent to the electricity used to manufacture Google hardware.